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hiring tips

Hiring Tips: Finding The Right Person For The Job

Just as in your love life, you may have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the right prince for you. The same is true in business; you may have to try out a few employees before you find the right fit for your organization.

After running a successful business for more than 25 years, I can relate to the struggles of finding the right person for each open position. In the process I’ve learned a few tricks.

I’d like to share my top 10 hiring tips:

Detailed job description

Most importantly, have a well-written, detailed job posting outlining exact requirement— the skills, the demands, the work load, the expectations of the position, etc. Make sure that you include not only the “fun” or “exciting” tasks, but also the sometimes harder-to-swallow tasks. Will they be dealing with customers complaints, working after hours, or on-call as needed? Be sure the applicant can meet all of your basic requirements and goes into the position with eyes wide open or you may find yourself searching for a new employee after a few weeks.

Multiple interviews/interviewers

You have to be honest with yourself and the interviewee. Ask for others on your team or even outside of your business to help you assess candidates and what you really need. Make sure you interview a candidate more than once; if the position is phone-heavy, implement a phone interview. If they’re going to be working in the field, take them out on a work interview to see how they perform.

Personality matters

Not only are the technical skills important, but also know what personality will thrive in the open position. So often, we try to make the person in need of a job fit the position. As a business professional, you must stop thinking that way. You have to find the best match, even if that means waiting a week or two or more.

Money talks

We’re all in business to be successful. This means finding the best person for the open position is imperative. It will save you time, money, stress and sometimes even your company’s reputation. Several bad hires can be more costly than holding out for the right person. It’s better to spend money on the right candidate from the beginning than hiring someone with less experience or less qualified because they’ll work for less money. You often lose more money while training a new individual than you would have spent hiring the right person.

Do they play nice in the sandbox?

If the position requires they work with several other individuals in your organization, make sure they can get along and work together. If they will be working alongside your customer base, ensure they’ll be able to represent the company well. Some individuals don’t take direction well; some have a hard time working with members of the opposite sex. And some have a hard time working with the same sex because they feel a sense of competition (maybe they’re shy). Finding someone that is easy to work with is key to your businesses success.

Some skills are not transferable

Just because your friend answered the phone for a doctor’s office doesn’t mean he or she is really qualified to work in an insurance claims office as a customer service representative. Think of how different the environments are — maybe it’s the demand of the calls, the need to multitask differently or the speed at which the calls are coming.

Know their weaknesses

All applicants have strengths and weaknesses. As I mentioned before, go into an interview with your eyes wide open. Can your company work with the individual’s weaknesses? It may be something easy to overcome, or it could be detrimental to your organization.

Establish a trial period

Try a temp agency first. Some hires feel right, some interviews are strong, but two weeks later, you wonder what happened to the person you interviewed. By using a temp agency, they can take on the burden of up-front hiring costs and HR paperwork that takes more time away from your business. If the temp agency sends someone that isn’t a strong fit, personalities clash or the work ethic is off, you can stop working with them fast and painlessly.

Do your due diligence

Protect your company’s assets, and have background checks done on every single candidate — even if you’ve known them for 30 years. You have to know you can trust them. Especially in my industry, we are in and out of people’s homes on a daily basis. I need to know my employees have done nothing in their past that would give me cause for concern now.

Next-generation employees

When interviewing candidates under 25 years old, it’s important to recognize they were raised in a technology-heavy generation. They may be more comfortable communicating via text or social media than face-to-face. They probably enjoy and thrive in group environments more than your older employees do. Don’t write them off too quick; they may need a little more help understanding their role in the company, but they can bring a lot to the table if you give them a voice.

Embezzlement

Protect Your Business From White-Collar Crime, Embezzlement

In a tough economy, white-collar crimes are more rampant than ever. A study by Marquet International, Ltd. on 2010 embezzlement data found that the average scheme lasted more than 4.5 years, the average loss was $1 million and two-thirds of the incidents were committed by employees who held finance and accounting positions. Whether you run a small start-up business or a Fortune 500 company, your finances are important ― and keeping track of them is essential.

While your business strengths may lie in production management, business development or customer service, it is imperative that you put certain safeguards and precautions in place to protect your business. If not, it doesn’t matter how strong you are in the other business areas.

To help protect yourself from financial fraud or embezzlement, consider implementing the following practices:

Conduct background checks prior to hiring

Although this may seem obvious, very few companies or small businesses actually do it. You not only want to pay attention to the criminal record, but also the credit history of the people you are hiring. This is especially true for people you are trusting to work in the finance department handling payments, credits, cash or expensive equipment.

Separate responsibilities

While you may consider the employees in your finance department very trustworthy, it is a good idea to have a system of checks and balances throughout the finance process. Avoid allowing a single individual to be in charge of all of the bookkeeping. Assigning separate employees for billing, accepting payments and depositing funds can serve as protection. If you have a small business that cannot disperse the duties, a simple safeguard can be limiting the number of people who can sign for checks, or only allowing specific people access to checks from certain accounts. This way, if something looks funny, you can easily trace it back. Having the business owner as the only one who can sign payroll checks is one idea, as well as only allowing the financial person to have access to the account that issues payments for goods or services.

Understand your books

Knowing the basics of your company’s finances can make all of the difference. Basic things like recognizing who your key vendors are and keeping record of all invoices, payments and purchases is an easy way to begin. Often times, embezzlement occurs by someone issuing payments to a vendor that doesn’t exist, or issuing additional payments on something that has already been paid.

Audit regularly

Along with the regular checks and balances, it is important to audit your books and inventory regularly. Surprise audits are sometimes a good idea if there are long periods of time between your routine audits. Consider hiring an outside professional to audit your books once a year to make sure that everything is on track. In addition to finding irregularities, you might find ways to improve efficiency or cash flow with these audits.

While you cannot anticipate every circumstance, establishing internal controls can help eliminate the risk of embezzlement within your organization. Of course, it is always a good idea regardless to know the financial aspects of your business — even if you decide to let someone else run the numbers on a day-to-day basis.

For more information about how you can protect your business from financial fraud or embezzlement, visit fswfunding.com.

Social media sites are no longer just places to reconnect with childhood friends or college roommates.

Social Media And The Hiring Process: Your Profile Can Sink Or Save You

Social media has set up camp in the professional world and is there to stay.

Social media sites are no longer just places to reconnect with childhood friends or college roommates. Companies now use social media websites to do unofficial background checks on potential employees.

A Cross-Tab Marketing Service study, released earlier this year, reveals that 70 percent of companies have rejected a candidate based on an inappropriate social media website posting.

This is a scary reality for everyone who uses these sites as a harmless way to catch up with friends, but may have crossed the line by uploading funny, yet work-inappropriate pictures. In today’s world, a world inextricably tied to the Internet, anything posted on a public page can and will be found by potential employers, says Lew Clark, an attorney with Squire, Sanders and Dempsey.

However, there are ways to prevent shooting yourself in the social media foot and, if you’re smart, work the system.

There are a few obvious things not to have on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube or other social media websites — including inappropriate photos or conversations. Poor grammar, spelling or writing skills, use of profanity, and poor people skills also can turn off a potential employer, Clark says.

“One of the huge no-nos that we discuss with folks … is to never, ever post anything negative about a former boss, co-worker, employer. It creates the wrong image. No matter if it’s true, valid, anything else, you just do not want to go there,” says Cindy Jones, vice president of human resources at Synergy Seven.

Don’t despair. Companies aren’t just looking for reasons to disqualify you. They’re also looking for reasons why you’re perfect for the job, Jones says. Especially on professional social media sites, such as Linkedin, companies look to see prospective employees’ connections.

If used properly, social media can be an effective marketing tool, Jones adds, providing a real-world example of how to use social media as an advantage.

When a woman decided to switch careers from Realtor to sommelier, she changed both her professional — Linkedin — and personal — Facebook — social media pages to reflect her new career path. She posted her excitement about passing tests toward receiving sommelier certification and changed her main picture to one of her toasting with a glass of wine.

While this type of online makeover won’t work for all fields, Jones says it’s an example of using social media to one’s advantage.

“There’s nothing at all improper with a prospective employer (looking) on someone’s public Facebook page, their public Twitter page, or any other online networking website that you can access publicly,” Clark says.

However, accessing a potential employee’s private page by figuring out the password, accessing it through someone else’s page or by pretending to be someone else is illegal, he adds.

Aside from accessing a page illegally, employers can find themselves in other sticky situations.

Employers may find information about a person’s religion, health, age or personal life that they wouldn’t otherwise learn and can’t legally take into consideration in the hiring process, Clark and Jones say.

“The risk to the employer is that someone could allege that you used information that is legally protected to decide whether to hire somebody or not,” Jones says. “Our guidance with most companies starts at the place of there’s nothing illegal about it, but be careful.”

Clark adds: “Employers are looking for whatever resource they can to try to get information about candidates so they can make a good hire.”

Background checks, including checking social media websites, can reduce costs, encourage honesty among employees and ensure the best person gets the job, says Marcia Rhodes from WorldatWork, a global human resource association.

Although using social media in the hiring process offers many perks, Jones and Rhodes say they’ve seen a trend in which companies are limiting social media background checks on possible employees, contrary to the report previously cited.

Kim Magyar, an attorney with Snell and Wilmer, says she doesn’t see the number of companies using social media decreasing, but companies are being more targeted and cautious with their searches.

Some companies wait until they’ve already interviewed a candidate to check social media, while others check before they conduct an interview, says Magyar, who has given presentations on social networking and the workplace.

Many companies believe social media can be a treasure trove of information; information that might not always be accurate, Magyar says.

“There’s nothing to prevent an employer from making decisions based upon what they see (on social media sites),” Clark says.

Nothing, except the awareness that public social media pages are fair game and the preparedness of prospective employees to maintain their pages in a way that represents them in a respectable, hire-able way.